Wisconsin soldier suspended for controversial casket photo

Categories: Military
Photos posted to Facebook by Specialist Terry Harrison have created a firestorm of negativity and resulted in the Madison-based National Guard soldier's suspension.

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The photo Harrison shared of her National Guard Honor Guard (visible at the top of this page) ignited the controversy. But as that photo spread around the internet, this similarly objectionable post also came to light:

As the casket photo went viral, one of Harrison's fellow soldiers came to her defense:


For its part, the Wisconsin National Guard took to Facebook to announce it was "looking into the matter," but that post was quickly plastered with comments blasting both Harrison and the guard's milquetoast handling of the situation:


In a statement released yesterday, the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office disclosed that the casket photo was taken at a training center in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and said Harrison has been indefinitely suspended from the funeral honors detail.

While the photo was only of a training exercise, "A military funeral is the final show of respect for our veterans and their families, and we take that solemn duty very seriously," Major Paul Rickert, the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs, said. "The very name 'military funeral honors' underscores the importance we ascribe -- both as the military and society at large -- to such solemn occasions."

"These photos and comments do not appear to align with those values," Rickert continued.

That sentiment was echoed today by Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar.

"The recently revealed inappropriate photos and commentary posted to a social media site by a soldier under my command are unacceptable," Dunbar said in a statement of his own. "I am taking this matter very seriously. Upon learning of this incident, I ordered an investigation and we will wait until that is concluded to evaluate appropriate action."

Dunbar went on to say he can understand why people are so outraged by the posts.

"The general public is understandably upset, and I understand the anger and response that it has caused," Dunbar continued. "For those of us who wear or have worn the cloth of our nation's uniform, this story cuts like a knife."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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Tracy Marcotte Shaffer
Tracy Marcotte Shaffer

This photo was taken during rehearsal - there was no body in the casket. Did they suspend the rest of the people in the photo? No, I don't think they did. Now, the other tweets that this soldier posted are the ones that should have gotten her suspended (talking about the who has funerals during bad weather will get a jacked up flag).


When I read the article title I thought a soldier in the casket was the one that got in trouble.

Feel free to use at your leisure Onion.com


Her goal of posting to FB was to get attention. Right? Hoping she gets tons of fun comments and 100 thumbs up things. Well she got her wish, just not the attention she hoped for.

There must be some commen sense in this world. She obviously lacks it. Doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize this might ruffle some feathers if you post it ot solcial media.
No sympathy for stupidity.

PS: The selfie about it being too cold outside for a funeral? In what world did you think posting that was a good idea. You honestly have no commen sense and deserve all this BS.

Bob B Bopp
Bob B Bopp

This is no more immoral than the chickenhawks that send the troops into war, or the monsters that reap a profit from their sacrifice.

ajlalk3 topcommenter

I am offended by the horrible JPEG artifacting in that Jimenez picture.

Mary Kesslar
Mary Kesslar

I don't see anything wrong with it. Get over yourselves. Walk in their boots or shut up already. People are too quick to get offended these days. Oh poor babies do you need a hug? It's ok for them to kill for you but God no don't be yourselves just be a robot right?

Scott Gates
Scott Gates

Javier is correct ... its a training session for the honor guard unit. The casket is empty. Sometimes things are NOT what they appear. Her other tweet was more problematic - complaining about outdoor funerals in the cold, and maybe not doing their job as well as usual. Even that though is simply a comment ... there is no evidence there was any follow thru

Kelly 'Scott' Melo
Kelly 'Scott' Melo

Wow- guess tack is gone. If your job is to serious and you can't act like a professional then get out. There will always be great honor given to those who honor a sacrifice they will never understand. This really is disgraceful- :(

midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

If you post your life story online like an attention whore trouble is bound to follow.  Regardless your opinion on the photos this wouldn't even be an issue if this wasn't shared with the entire public. People are getting really stupid with Twitter and facebook. Keep your humor to your close friends in person or private emails and you won't have to worry much about trouble.

Javier Trejo
Javier Trejo

There's no one in the casket. And this photo went viral so... In a sense it is "the shot"

Steven Wittenberg
Steven Wittenberg

extremely POOR taste here... as a photojournalist, i've been trained to "get the shot". & this is NOT it!


Eat a bag of dicks.

There is this new thing called "professionalism." If an HONOR GUARD can't HONOR those who have fallen, perhaps they shouldn't be in the f*cking Honor Guard. 

And for f*ck's sake, don't take a picture and post it to social media even if it IS just a training day. 

CinBlueland topcommenter

Note the flag in the back window of the car casually tossed there.. 

As mentioned by others, it's an Honor Guard. Very public and yes they are very visible members of the military. 

Suspending her from the duty should be step one. Then she should get nailed with office hours/ admin punishment and reduction in grade/rank

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